Cover photo for James R. Peirce's Obituary
James R. Peirce Profile Photo
1943 James 2023

James R. Peirce

September 10, 1943 — October 12, 2023

Hastings, Nebraska



James R. Peirce, 80, of Hastings passed away October 12, 2023, at Mary Lanning Hospital. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 19, 2023, at Apfel Funeral Home in Hastings, with Pastor John Mueller officiating.  Interment at the Red Cloud Cemetery will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the family for future designation. Online condolences can be sent to                   

Born to Betty D. (Wert) and Russel C. Peirce, Jim grew up in Red Cloud. He graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1961 and soon enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Naval Construction Battalion, known as the Seabees, where he tested in the top levels with masonry as his trade and served in Spain and Cuba. His skill in firearms earned him the designation of sharpshooter.

He married Margaret N. Thomas of Lebanon, Kansas on February 27, 1965, and the couple made their home in Hastings, raising a daughter, Michelle, and a son, Dan.

Jim operated Hastings Masonry during the 1970s and 1980s and later worked for Farris Construction as a project supervisor. His career took him to constructions projects across the state, from private residences to public buildings. Among his favorites: the Hastings Police Department headquarters and the Red Cloud Opera House in Red Cloud. He also worked in construction in Texas. Following his masonry years, he operated G and W Saw and Tool Sharpening, serving area residents and businesses.

In the 1990s Jim developed skills as a blacksmith, and he enjoyed demonstrating the trade at shows and museums, including the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island. He was a longtime member of the Prairie Blacksmith Association. His son Dan teased about him about the bang-bang-tink-tink trade in his home shop. Jim took great pride in his decorative iron work, including several replica plows displayed along the highways near Red Cloud to promote the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial. Jim enjoyed solving challenges in construction and he was tremendously proud of his creations in brick, stone, and steel. Most of all, he was proud of a job well done.

From childhood, Jim loved the outdoors and made camping, hunting, and fishing a family activity.  He and his brothers and nephews and friends spent countless weekends at the Peirce family cabin along Elm Creek and along the Republican River. He was a member and former president of Four Rivers Sportsman Club near Hastings.

Left to cherish his memory are his son, Dan of Hastings, and daughter, Michelle (James) Grant, grandchildren Anna and Benji Grant of Lincoln; sisters Myrna (Joe) Cagnina of Spotsylvania, VA and Linda (Jim) Smith of Woodbridge, VA; brothers and spouses, Terry (Diane) Peirce of Eagle, NE and Larry (Angie) Peirce of Sioux Falls, SD; sister-in-law Cherlene Peirce of Hastings; nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Margaret; brothers Michael and Mark Peirce; and nephew, Marty Smith.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James R. Peirce, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, October 19, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Apfel Funeral Home - Hastings

505 N Bellevue Ave, Hastings, NE 68901

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